California seller of suicide kits sentenced for tax offense
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California seller of suicide kits sentenced for tax offense

Cebu : Philippines | May 08, 2012 at 1:11 AM PDT
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Skooter reporting 0508012

The 93-year-old Sharlotte Hydorn who made to the top of the bill by selling suicide kits from her California home was placed on five years of supervised probation Monday and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine for a tax evasion resulting from her mail-order business.

Hydorn, a great-grandmother and retired science teacher, pleaded guilty in December to a federal charge for failure to file income tax returns from 2007 to 2010, a period where at least seven customers used her kits to kill themselves, investigators said. Reportedly Hydorn sold at least 1,300 of the do-it-yourself asphyxiation hoods during those years. As part of the bargain pleas, she agreed to stop manufacturing or selling the suicide kit.

Hydorn became infamous after one of her mail-order clients in Oregon by the name of Nicholas Klonoski, 29, who was suffering from depression or else healthy as told by his family, used an "exit kit" to kill himself in December 2010.

It is to be understood that Oregon is one of the two U.S. states with laws legalizing physician-assisted suicide for people with incurable, fatal illnesses, however, the state was infuriated over the case that prompted the Oregon state lawmakers to pass legislation to ban sales of such devices.

Nevertheless, the San Diego County district attorney, who was a party to the arrangement, agreed not to prosecute Hydorn for her role in any of the six known deaths that happened in California. The San Diego federal judge who sentenced Hydorn issued a decision that her suicide kit business was illegal under California law.

After the sentencing, assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Mazza said that she was prosecuted under the U.S. tax code because the sale of suicide kit is not a violation of the federal law. He further explained that the case was not about the position that someone has the right to terminate their own life but this was about Hydorn indiscriminate sale of kits to anyone who wrote her a check.

Hydorn claimed that her product was to help terminally ill people to end their lives with dignity at home. Hydorn suicide kits consisted of a plastic hood that closed around the neck and tubing that linked the hood to a tank of gas and is priced at $60 each including instructions and shipping. She admitted that she operated the business for the past 20 years, but she made little money from the enterprise. It was reported that she grossed $40,000 from the sale operations.

Reuters/OddNews

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skooter is based in Cebu, Central Visayas, Philippines, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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